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“You always want to go after areas that others are not necessarily in or focusing on,” says Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group, a Centennial, Colo.-based consulting firm. “There are merchants that may not have been called on [by a merchant-level salesperson] for a long time.”

Indeed, there has been an increased shift from credit to debit, says Ablowitz. “Who is more likely to take a higher percentage of debit? Lower transaction-ticket merchants,” he says.

Merchants that sell discounted items also have experienced more consumer business as increased numbers of shoppers “have been down-shifting” to less-expensive stores, says Ablowitz. “If they used to shop at Saks, they’re shopping at Macy’s. If they were shopping at Macy’s, now they are going to Kohl’s,” he says, illustrating how consumers have moved down from high-end Saks Fifth Avenue to upper-market Macy’s and value-oriented Kohl’s.

Merchant-service providers should “pay attention to a wide variety of things to tease out one trend” and “apply macro trends to their world,” recommends Ablowitz. “You only need one or two good ideas. There is a lot of business out there,” he says.

Not all trends, however, are applicable to every region, notes Ablowitz. ISOs should review whether a trend is salient to their markets and geographic regions, he says, noting “the Denver market is not the same as Tulsa.”

PaymentsSource, February 8, 2010